The Power of Intention

In the previous weekly video, I talked about the importance of setting an intention before we ride and how our horses can ‘magically understand’ it. I was asked in one of the comments on our website to expand more on this idea.

That’s what this podcast is all about.

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In our previous weekly video, I talked about the importance of setting an intention before we ride and how our horses seem to ‘magically understand’ it. I was asked to expand more on this idea in a comment on our website, so here we go!

First of all, please know that I am using the word. ‘magic’ to describe those things that can happen in direct response to something we do, say, or think that’s not so directly observable on the outside. The word ‘magic’ means different things to different people. But in this podcast, I’m going to talk about it in terms of the focus and energy you bring to a situation – and that your horse picks up on that.

To explain what I mean by energy and focus, imagine you’re going to a close friend’s house for dinner. You are so excited. You haven’t seen her for ages, and you can’t wait to get there.

Without being so consciously aware of it, your expectation is a pure delight to have the chance to spend time and catch up with your dear friend. Just thinking about it makes you smile. Even if she accidentally burned dinner right before you arrived, you still wouldn’t mind. You expect to have a blast.

Now, by contrast, let’s say you’re going to a meeting in your hometown about some controversial street development issue. You feel strongly about your opinions, but you know there might be verbal confrontations between different factions of people. You know you need to go because it directly impacts where you live, but you’re not looking forward to it. Most thoughts you have about that meeting are dreading it’ll be unpleasant and fearing things won’t turn out the way you want.

In both examples of the fun dinner party and the street meeting, you bring your own clear expectations to the event without consciously doing so. Fun has its own type of energy, and so do dread and fear.

Back to our horses – they have an extraordinary ability to read our emotions whether we realize it or not. They’re hotwired for this because they’re prey animals. Their existence in the wild required this ability. Whether we consciously leave our cares and fears of the day behind and greet them with openness and positive expectation – or not – they pick up on our energy.

The incredible benefit of setting an intention before you ride consciously puts you in whatever state of positive energy you want for that ride, instead of approaching your horse in your default emotion of the moment – which of course, may or may not be good!

Do you want to be focused, light-hearted, calm, quicker to release, more aware of your horse, etc., for that day?

If you do, try this simple routine:

  • Take 3 deep breaths.
  • Tell yourself to release any leftover worry or frenzy about your day before this moment.
  • Then, set a positive intention for how you want your ride to be.

This simple ritual does several things at the same time:

  • You bring yourself back to the present moment.
  • You let go of thoughts and emotions that do not serve your ride.
  • You calm yourself.
  • You focus on your horse and the job at hand.
  • You set the tone and your expectations for that ride.

And remember, your horse picks up on that tone. They do. That’s their nature. Plus, they read our body language and the way we move like a book.

It’s also true that what we focus on – and the meaning we give it – creates our reality. Instead of our focus being unintentional, we can supercharge our intention. Of course, we need to focus on executing the technical skills of riding, too, but HOW we approach our horse, and the situation determines our experience, our horse’s experience, and how efficiently we progress.

And setting intentions is fun. You can make it whatever you want to be. One of my favorites shared by a couple of members in a course is saying to yourself and your horse right before you go in, “We are going to be amazing!” Now that will make you smile!

Leave a comment for me. Do you set intentions? Do you now understand the power of this practice? Enjoy!

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2 Comments on The Power of Intention

  1. Gayle on Sun, 15th Aug 2021 2:44 pm
  2. I have become addicted to this practice and love these coaching reminders. Specifically, Cooper is on board, too. He likes to work but to “drill”, not so much. He is fun and clever, so part of my riding intention is to make space in our rides for him to get to choose sometimes. For example, a break to breathe and contemplate that includes a stroke or good boy, followed by, where’d you like to go next, buddy… He never fails to amuse me. One example was to check out a State Trooper using our driveway gate as a speed trap and Cooper determined to sneak up slowly, stop, watch flashing lights and ticket writing about 100 steps at a time, then pause and sneak closer. Trooper after 20 minutes moved on but with a wave and thumbs up, and we resumed our work back at the house. Fun horse, fun experience, and a very good day of good work and shared intention. Magic, i say. Thanks, Barb 😁

  3. Carol Bloom on Sun, 15th Aug 2021 8:37 pm
  4. That is so true. If I focus Just on my horse not everything else…concerns,confrontations, and other
    obligations I can connect, calm and synchronize with my horse. Breathe, breathe, and breathe. I’m learning 😌
    Thank you so much.

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